Saturday, January 7, 2012

Green grass in January

I'm finding it all over campus.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Big Event (Collage of Sustainability)

It has been a week since we've hosted the largest event on the HUG Campus (so far), and we're still buzzed on the positive energy from it. And with over 60 attendees and presenters coming to campus, we have a lot to still be buzzed about.

The day started with opening comments from Lynn and we wasted no time breaking out into separate workshops immediately after. Highlights of the event were an enlightening talk on the "Complete Streets" project, an interactive keynote from Brad Hokanson, and a panel on building efficient housing.

Here you can see our team making and packaging the over 150 sack lunches.

Bob really got into the keynote presentation. Here, he snapped his fingers as the entire group tried to simulate a coming rainstorm.

Arlene Jones, John Sumption, and Jim Chamberlin led a discussion on the importance of teaching sustainably agricultural practices.

Here you can see Sonja, Sarah, and Quinn transferring all of those lunches from the kitchen to the atrium across campus.

Here you can see attendees participating in a hands-on workshop. The workshop demonstrated the difficulty of planning any future design that meets the "Triple Bottom Line."

With over 60 attendees, the Collage of Sustainability was the largest event hosted on the HUG campus.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Concrete Poured on TWARC

The TWARC finally has its base. In mid-August, the concrete foundation was poured and leveled by Bjornson Masonry out of Brainerd.

The crew had their work cut out for them. In addition to the regular plumbing fixtures that a normal house has in its foundation, the TWARC offered many more obstacles. In this design, hot water must run through the base to help with heating the house. The hoses were placed throughout the base and end attachments stuck out to allow access.

There were also twelve access points for the HUGnet sensor equipment. With six nodes on each side, the crew was forced to work around the tubes the entire project. There are two rows of sensors in six locations spread evenly throughout the floor. The first row of sensors are just above a layer of black tubing meant to distribute hot air. The second row of sensors are in the concrete.

Here you can see the hot water hoses being covered. In the foreground, you can see the sensor tubing sticking up.

Here you can see the finished product. On each side you can see the sensor tubing sticking out from each tower. In the center, you can see the many blue water tubes and their access points. In the background, you can see the large black hoses that will bring hot air from the greenhouses to underneath the concrete. This will aid in warming the house.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Happy Trails to Mr. VDL

Today is the last day of MN GreenCorps Volunteer John van der Linden. He began his stint last October and picked up the task of bringing Pine River into the final stages of becoming a GreenSteps City.
There was a large sendoff for this intrepid journeyman. Ice cream was served and speeches were given. He will be missed. Here are several photos of Mr. van der Linden and his stay here at the HUG Campus.

Taking care of the chickens was one of John's duties. While often times the work was repetitive and laborious, John always made sure their eggs were collected, they were warm in the winter and that they always had plenty of food. In this picture, John and Jim Chamberlin are wrangling up some misbehaving chickens.

Here John tries out a kite brought in by Ryan Hunt. It had the power to drag us around, but (un)fortunately, that day had a particularly weak wind.

John attended many official meetings as a representative of MN GreenCorps and Happy Dancing Turtle and even spoke at some of them. His insight into conservation and environmental studies was an asset to the conversation. He cleans up real nice, too.

John was always ready with a smile and quick to humor the oddest requests.

Good luck in Iowa, John. The HUG campus will be less without you.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Great insight

This is a great TED talk about how bacteria in your body communicate. It gives me a sense of wonder and appreciation for how we relate to the bugs that make up 99% of our body, and our genes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

HUG Information Kiosk Beautified

Those of you who have visited the HUG campus may have noticed that our welcome kiosk was a little run down. Season after season of use has made it imperative to give it a face lift.

We wanted to make the kiosk as welcoming as possible. So, we took down the information placards and added some beauty to them. Lisa decorated the edges with pink flowers.

We put relevant information of the new buildings on the placards. With the information in place, we cleaned up the glass and put the unit back together again.

Here you can see Ryan and Lisa reinstalling the sign.

Jim and Jake cut the grass around the kiosk and added a nice layer of wood chips to make the sign more welcoming.

Here you can see Jake planting some beautiful perennials around the sign. He transplanted some St. Johns wart, menarda and catmint plants from a berm in the garden.

Jim added timed irrigation lines to the newly planted flowers. Don't they look nice?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

TWARC Foundation has Started

Several weeks earlier, Schrupp Excavating allowed access to the water and electrical lines. After water and time were given to allow for settling, we were prepared to begin construction.

If you look at the south field of the HUG campus, you might see a little pink. The foam insulation for the TWARC foundation has been installed. A layered method was utilized to help maximize heat retention. We went with five layers along the walls, with five layers on the floor.

Here you can see the amount of hose we would be using to heat the double occupation house.

Once the insulation was installed, we laid plastic hosing along the base. The hosing is meant to take the heat from the greenhouse (not installed, yet) and bring it to the foundation where it will keep the house warm. You can see where the hoses are sticking out. This is where the greenhouse is planned.